By Arnie Leshin
After surprising top seed, undefeated Albuquerque Hope Christian Friday night in the 3A state semifinals, Robertson’s thoughts turned to cross town rival West Las Vegas.
And why not? The 6th seeded Dons were playing in the other semis Saturday afternoon at 2nd seeded Dexter, and so it appeared that the Cardinals would be seeking an all-district final next weekend.
But it wasn’t to be, for while 5th seeded Robertson (11-2) disposed of the Huskies, 25-17, for West Las Vegas it was the season finale as the Demons (11-2) ousted it 35-7 to end the Dons’ season at 8-5.
So in their fifth straight trip to the state final, the Cards will go against Dexter. They will have to play on the Demons’ field, and it should be an interesting contest.
Dexter is in its initial season in 3A. For years it played the likes of Santa Rosa, Tucumcari, Eunice, Hageman, Capitan, Texico, was in four state finals and won one. It has never played Robertson, but has played Portales,
Lovington and some of the other bigger schools.
But now, with their enrollment increased to the 3A level, the Demons have done well in their inaugural campaign in that class. Their two losses were to Portales and Eunice, which is unbeaten in 11 starts and the 2A champion. The Rams were eliminated in the 4A semifinals by Taos, 35-14.
For Robertson, it will be playing this one at Dexter. But the Cards have done well on the road, and their fans travel. The Demons, though, have drawn good home crowds and their stadium could be packed to the rafters.
You can say the new kids in 3A have a young and old roster, with 14 seniors, eight juniors, eight sophomores, nine freshmen, one 8th grader and two 7th graders.
In the 4A final, it will be 5th seed Bloomfield (9-4) heading for 3rd seed Taos (11-2). The Bobcats took the lead early and held on for a 15-6 triumph over No. 1 seeded Albuquerque St. Pius X, which wound up at 8-4.
The Tigers (11-2) also got away to a fast start, scored back-to-back touchdowns in the first quarter, and remained in charge the rest of the way at 2nd seeded Portales’ home field. The Rams concluded at 8-4.
In 5A was no doubt the best game, with the lead going back and forth before 2nd seeded Roswell (10-2) held on for a wild and wooly 48-42 win over visiting 4th seeded Artestia, which was seeking its record 21st state championship, but instead finished at 8-5.
Known to be a tougher team at home, the Bulldogs fought hard to come away with a road win. They led 7-0 after one quarter, 21-7 at the half, but Roswell responded by scoring 28 points while allowing seven in the third quarter. That put Roswell ahead 35-28 on a cold afternoon.
Then it went down to the final whistle. The Bulldogs scored a TD and made the PAT to deadlock things at 35-35. Back came Roswell with a TD, but missed the point-after and still went in front, 41-35. They were down to the final minutes when Artesia scored, kicked the PAT, and led 42-41.
But the home team had enough left to find the end zone with 37 seconds remaining, boot the point-after, and 48-42 was the final score.
Now Roswell will again be home and 2nd seed rival Goddard will actually be at home after it lost on its field to 4th seeded Los Lunas, 41-20 anddeparted with a 9-2-1. So now it’s the Tigers traveling to Roswell.
In 6A, two of the three unbeaten schools will play for the championship. This, after top seed Rio Rancho Cleveland had a tough test from visiting 4th seeded Albuquerque Volcano Vista, and pulled out a 43-39 victory to run its record to 12-0, while Volcano Vista was ousted at 9-3.
The Storm will be home for the title game against the 2nd seed, also-unbeaten Albuquerque La Cueva, which had it a little easier in rolling over the 3rdseeded Las Cruces Centennial, 41-14, and it, too, is 12-0. Centennial lost for the first time in a dozen contests.
Only one class got its first and two seeds into the championship game, and that was 6A. Not playing for the title will be top seeds Hope Christian in 3A and St. Pius X in 4A.
This will conclude the high school fall sports, with the St. Michael’s girls winning the state 3A volleyball championship, the Lady Horsemen girls losing 1-0 in the state soccer finals, and the Pecos girls edging Academy of Technology and The Classics in the 2A state cross county finals.
Kudos to all three teams.
The next stop will be the winter sports with basketball, wresting and swimming-diving.